So, this is a hard one to admit, but it’s happening to me so much that I need to come out and say it: I’m wrong a lot. It’s gotten to the point that I have to laugh because otherwise it would be downright embarrassing. At this rate, I’m going to be a sports loving fanatic within five years. (For the record, and to my husband’s dismay, I currently hate spectator sports, and while I can give you a plethora of information to back up my position, there’s really no explanation for the deep well of spiritual unrest I feel when thinking about it.)
I’ve come to the conclusion that there are things and ideologies in this world that I feel viscerally, emotionally opposed to, and ironically those are the things I end up being wrong about. I have realized that these oppositions and opinions are always surface manifestations of something deeper, and once I shatter the superficial walls, I arrive at a buried reason for my distaste which usually has very little to do with the thing itself.
No matter how much logic I apply to my opinions, when I feel a deep loathing and/or discord towards a thing, it almost always represents something that is wrong with ME, an internal struggle that I need to face and reconcile – and has nothing to do with what I am projecting my hate towards. Of course there are causes that I strongly believe in and behaviors that I passionately oppose, but when I am balanced and measured inside as a human being, I can deal with these issues and other people in a productive way. You know, in a way that actually makes a difference and does some good in the world. On the contrary, the things that cause me to shake, to react violently, those are the things that I’ve always been wrong about.
As you can imagine, coming to the realization of these ‘wrongs’ takes quite a bit of internal work, but doing so is pretty much the most amazing feeling ever. It also lends so much perspective and humor to my life, and I can now say that I truly love being wrong. The spectator sports, however, I can wait on.
Here’s a fun list of the things I’ve been wrong about, and NEVER EVER thought would be connected to who I am today.
I’m Religious. Like, Really Religious.
This is the biggest and most obvious one when people first learn a little about me. My family will never let me live it down. As a child and teenager, the notion of an all-powerful Gd was ridiculous to me. And arrogant. While deep down I believed in what I called an “infinite potential beyond what humans could ever comprehend”, I never connected that concept to any sort of religion. I believed that contradictory ideas were meant to be reconciled (but not negated) and that true depth came from holding these opposing forces within oneself. Religion, to me, was the antithesis of this. And I couldn’t understand why religious people claimed to be moral and then would do the most hypocritical acts. This especially made me super angry and I wanted nothing to do with it. When asked if I was Jewish I would shrug and say, “I guess so but not really.” Anyway, just look at me now. The family-atheist-turned-Orthodox-Jew. Was definitely wrong about that one.
I’m (Happily) Married
Married to my soulmate who allows me to grow in ways I never dreamed? An honest to goodness truly good person down to the tips of his toes who treats me really (really) well? Yeah, it’s possible. And yeah, these people do exist. And yes, divorce is rampant and horrible but there are many couples out there that give me so much to strive for and emulate. I just had to find them. And I never thought it would be possible, especially not for someone like me… but there you go. I still can’t believe it. Marriage. Eternal commitment. It’s the greatest risk I’ve ever taken and by far the best decision I’ve ever made.
I Want To Have More Children
“Children are environmental leeches!! Bringing more life into this already imploding world is irresponsible!” I remember ranting to a religious friend of mine about my views on children when she stopped me. “Andrea, I agree with you that the next generation may destroy the world, but who says that children have to make the world a worse place? If you bring them up well, can’t they make the world a better place? Better than you can on your own? And if you have the physical and emotional ability to bring more life into the world in order to make it that much better for its inhabitants, don’t you have an obligation to try and do so as much as possible?” Oh.
I Teach Music
“Those who can’t, teach.” Right? Well I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but that’s the world I grew up in. The top of the class became performers and those who couldn’t make it resorted to teaching instead. But pretty much all my messed-up-ness with music is due to this hypocritical phenomenon, and I’d rather the future generation of musicians not be as messed up as I am. This way of thinking is not right, it’s insulting, it needs to change, and frankly, I plan on doing my part in changing it. Teaching by far is the most important thing one can give to the music world. I’ve had to get over my judgement of teachers in order to become one and most of all, I’ve had to get over myself. I’m so glad that I was wrong about this.
I’m A Fashion Icon?!
This one still makes me laugh. And sometimes cry. I HATE fashion. I HATE materialism. I used to be that girl in well-worn jeans and a t-shirt, biking around Chinatown with a backpack getting all the produce marked down on super sale. I shopped at thrift stores on half-off day. I rolled my eyes at trends. Yet somehow I wind up being the only person who dresses the way that I do in Chicago. And people like it and want to learn how it’s done. So I teach them. And then it goes online. And it explodes and takes off. And now people come to me (me!) for fashion advice. Craziness. The best part is that I actually kinda like it too 🙂
I Cover My Collarbones
Did I mention that the way I dress is super modest? Modest! Like, all covered up! This modern, educated 21st century girl chose to cover her knees, elbows, hair, and collarbones every single day! And it has been the most liberating thing that I have ever done. I feel like I cover up the perfect amount in order to reveal my true self to the world. I LOVE that I’ve taken responsibility for the power of my body. But man oh man, did I ever judge those crazy religious fanatics harshly before. Wrong again. Sorry, y’all.
I Don’t Touch Men
You heard me. The only men that I touch are in my immediate family. And this is coming from someone that passionately believed that physicality should be expressed freely. And those that held back on anything physical were oppressed and backwards. Yeah. Oops.
I Live In The USA. Pretty Much in the Suburbs.
Whatttt?? Yeah, you heard me. This Canadian-Israeli city girl loves living here in Baltimore Jewish community suburbia. With barely any public transit and no ethnic grocery store within walking distance. Okay, actually I really miss those things a lot, but the pros make up for the cons and that is why we chose to live here. Still tough to admit, though.
We Sometimes Use Paper Plates
My environmentalist self is cringing as I write this. Yes, we do use paper plates occasionally. And this is coming from someone that used to glare daggers at others who used disposable anything. But at this stage in my life, I have to make choices, and often that choice is whether or not to wash dishes or be fully present with my son. Whether to host guests at our epic Shabbat dinner table, bringing them closer to themselves, nourishing their bodies and souls, or spend time exhausting myself at the sink so I can’t do it again the next day. The choice of whether I am a frazzled, annoyed and sleep deprived mess of a wife, or a giving life partner. These choices depend on whether or not I should bring out the disposables. And sometimes the choice of paper plates is clearly the best option, and I’m okay with it. Really. (Getting there, at least.)
We Drive A Minivan
Environmentalist, remember? Fantasies of never owning a car and biking everywhere? Feeling superior and smug with every gas guzzling vehicle that passed? Well, try doing that while managing two non-profits, one of which requires transporting musical instruments all over town, and owning a business that includes shlepping bins of headscarves all over the world in order to teach women how to wrap confidently. And you know, family, with kids. We had a friend making aliyah that wanted to sell their Honda Odyssey, and the price was right. So we are now the proud owners of a blue minivan. Just like every other family on my block. I still cringe can’t believe it’s ours… I have officially sold out. Ah well.
I Own A Business
Business people are corrupt and destroying the world. Business school is for greedy, money hungry, egotistical narcissists who have no problem exploiting their customers and everyone that works for them. Well, this is often true, but I’ve also learned that there are a handful of business people that exist only to give the world what it desperately needs, support their employees unconditionally, have uncompromising integrity, actually follow business Halacha and aren’t in it for money at all. And I’m proud to say that I’m now one of them. (If I’m ever not, you have full permission to slap me. Hard.) I may be a musician, and have no flipping clue how I ended up as a business owner, but I’m learning fast, believe that the work I’m doing is incredibly important, and this is obviously what my creator wants from me, so fine, I’ll do it.
I’m At The Forefront Of A Female Empowerment Revolution
That’s right. I said FEMALE empowerment. Like, feminism type stuff. This is the girl who used to write essays on how men are discriminated against in the media and argue passionately for men’s rights. I grew up with incredibly positive male role models and friends. Females, not so much. My close friendships were male, and my brother, father, and I were inseparable. I didn’t get along well with women, and I really didn’t understand them. Feminism was something that turned my stomach, because it seemed to attack those that I loved most. Well, flash forward two decades and here I am leading a woman’s movement which includes tens of thousands, giving seminars to female-only audiences, being in a workplace daily that consists of only women. Yeah, that means lots of high-pitched squealing. It’s nuts. So nuts. And I love it.
I Like People. Everyone, Really.
I saved the best and rightest ‘wrong’ for last.
If you read my bio below, you’ll see that my life seems to be about giving my creator a good laugh. Above are some of the reasons why. I believe that this sort of laughter is what makes me whole with myself, and able to be truly whole with others. This is what allows me to dig below an offensive comment, an ignorant thought, and get to the core of what really lies beneath. And what ALWAYS lies beneath is a human being that at the root of his/her being believes they are doing the right thing. For whatever reason. Because if I, with all the education and opportunity I’ve been given, can be wrong about so many things and still love the person I was then as much as I love the person that I am now, I can do that for others too.